Becoming an Elementary School Teacher or Early Childhood Educator!

Early Childhood Education Degree

Are you interested in teaching children the educational foundation they’ll rely on for the rest of their lives? Then an early childhood education degree or an elementary education bachelor’s degree may be for you!

Check out the basics of each degree below, including common courses, requirements, and certifications.

Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education or Early Childhood Education Degree

You know that you want to teach, but what grade do you want to teach? Are you better suited for early childhood, such as preschool, or are you looking to teach a specific subject to students in elementary school?

While there are many similarities between an early childhood education bachelor’s degree and an elementary education degree, understanding the differences is an important part of finding the perfect program for you.

Once you understand the key differences and requirements and choose which degree is right for you, then it’s easy to find a program for free. Complete the form on this page to get matched to the perfect program for you by selecting ‘Education’ degrees!

Difference Between Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education

The difference between an early childhood education degree and an elementary education bachelor’s is more than just the age of the children you’ll teach.

The overall philosophies are similar. You’re learning how to prepare children for advancing through school and how to teach them a foundation of learning. However, as the table below shows, early childhood education is focused on stimulating and giving students the ability to explore.

On the other hand, elementary education is about providing an educational foundation that prepares them for increasingly difficult curriculum.

Difference Between Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education Bachelor’s Degrees

 

 
DegreeTypical Entry-Level EducationAges of StudentsGrade LevelsKey Topics

Early Childhood Education

Associate’s / Bachelor’s

Birth to 8

Preschool and After Day Care

How to allow children to apply lessons through creative assignments

Elementary Education

Bachelor’s

5 through 11

Kindergarten through 5th or 6th grade

How to teach children an educational foundation in subjects such as math, reading, and writing.

 

What Is Early Childhood Education? ECE Degree Online

Early Childhood Education (ECE) is the education of children from birth through age eight. This phase of life is when children develop the foundations for cognitive, physical, and emotional development and intense, rapid growth.

That means while earning a ECE degree, you’ll learn how to reach these children, but also how to provide them with an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned. Usually, this is through a combination of:

  • Exercises
  • Play
  • Creative assignments

What Is Elementary Education?

Generally, elementary education continues from kindergarten through fifth grade, though at some schools it continues through sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.(I)

 

As these are older students, many elementary education bachelor’s programs incorporate more lessons on engaging multiple levels of learning styles, as opposed to the high energy focus on early childhood programs.

Therefore, these program examine how to teach students a foundation of knowledge in subjects such as:

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • History

How to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education Online or On-Campus

While pursuing an early childhood education bachelor’s degree, you’ll study how to:

  • Summarize principles of child development
  • Design appropriate teaching strategies
  • Use observation, documentation, and assessment strategies to determine appropriate learning methods
  • Analyze effective strategies that focus on collaboration and communication
  • Analyze principles of equity, pedagogy, and inclusivity

These topics, and others, strive to prepare you for the challenges you may face in the classroom and how to effectively prepare your future students.

Early Childhood Education Teaching Requirements

While preschool teachers are typically only required to have an associate’s degree, at least 50 percent of those in Head Start programs nationwide are required to have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, preschool teachers in public schools are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree.(II)

Licenses and Certifications after an Online Early Childhood Education Degree

Some states require that preschool teachers obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition.

Typically, this credential requires:

  • Coursework
  • Experience in the field
  • Written exam
  • Observation of candidate working with children

In order to maintain the credential, the CDA must be renewed every three years. In addition, public schools require that preschool teachers by licensed to teach early childhood education, which covers preschool through third grade.(II)

Early Childhood Education Programs Courses

Some of the courses you may take while earning an early childhood education bachelor’s degree include:

  • Principles and Procedures of Education
  • Child Development
  • Language and Literacy Acquisition Development in Children
  • Curriculum Planning and Design for Early Learners
  • Administration of Early Childhood Education Programs

How to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education

Bachelor’s degree programs in elementary education strive to prepare you for teaching certification, which include various strategies to help students develop confidence and succeed in today’s diverse classrooms.

These programs usually include student teaching requirements, as that is part of the specific requirements of licensure. Student teaching also provides you with an opportunity to apply lessons and theories.

Online Elementary Education Degree - Elementary Education Courses

Some of the common courses for an elementary education bachelor’s degree include:

  • Child Development
  • Foundations of Education
  • Assessment, Accountability, and Ethics in Teaching
  • Diverse and Exceptional Learners in the Elementary Classroom
  • Community Building for Effective Classroom Management

These courses and others, focus on promoting children’s development and learning across various subject areas. Plus, many programs are now teaching how to use data to assess student growth, so that you may learn how to make informed decisions about curriculum.

Elementary School Teacher Requirements

All states require that public kindergarten and elementary school teachers have a least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), typically private schools have the same requirement.

Licenses and Certifications

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified in the specific grade level that they will teach. However, those who teach in private schools typically don’t need a license.

Keep in mind the specific requirements to become licensed vary from state to state. Generally, the requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA
  • Completion of teacher preparation, such as student teaching
  • Pass a background check
  • Pass a general teaching certification test
  • Pass a test that demonstrates knowledge in specific subject

Usually, states require that teachers complete annual professional development classes in order to keep their license or certification. In addition, some states require that teachers earn a master’s degree after earning their certification and obtaining a job.

Find an Early Childhood Education Degree 

Once you decide which degree you want to pursue, it’s easy to find the perfect program for you. Complete the form on this page and we’ll match you to programs that fit your criteria!

Early Childhood Education Degree Jobs and Elementary Education Careers and Potential Salaries

Early childhood education and elementary school teachers are primarily equipped to build on particular subjects and help students apply the lessons they have learned. There are many options for you to consider, so check out some of the careers below with the information posted from the BLS.

What Can you Do with An Early Childhood Education Degree or an Elementary Education Degree?

Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age five who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to these young children.

  • Median Salary: $28,990
  • Job growth through 2026: 10%
  • Typical Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

 

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Preschool and childcare directors supervise and lead their staffs, design program plans, oversee daily activities, and prepare budgets. They are responsible for all aspects of their center’s programs.

  • Median salary: $46,890
  • Job growth through 2026: 11%
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

KINDERGARTEN AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS 

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects, such as math and reading, in order to prepare them for future schooling.

  • Median Salary:$56,900 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 7%  (As fast as average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's Degree